Glad 'e Ate 'er Ch. 02byAussiescribbler©
"Jesus Freaks!" yelled a heckler, during Daniel's first public preaching session with Matthew and the other members of their group.
"Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me," he replied, defiantly.
This may have been a mistake, as, no sooner were the words out of his mouth when a large stone hit him in the forehead sending a warm trickle of blood down into his right eye.
"That kind of thing happens all the time," Matthew explained afterwards. "They'll stone you when you're trying to be so good. They'll stone you just like they said they would. They'll stone you when you're trying to go home. They'll stone you when you're there all alone. In fact, I think eventually everyone must get stoned."
"Our Lord tried to prevent stonings," explained Simon, another of their group. "The people would be preparing to stone to death an adulterer or a prostitute and He would say to them, 'Let he among you who is without sin, cast the first stone.'"
"A prostitute?" asked Daniel. "What's a prostitute?"
"A prostitute," explained Matthew, "is a woman who allows men to have sex with her in return for money."
"Really?" Daniel asked, counting out the meagre collection of coins that he could find in his pocket. "Where can I find such a woman, and how much is she likely to charge?"
"No, no, you misunderstand," explained Matthew quickly. "While it is wrong to stone such women to death, it is also wrong to make use of their services."
"Oh," replied Daniel disappointedly, wondering if he would ever find a women in whom to deposit his white cream.
That evening, Matthew had to go to a secret meeting. Women where not allowed, and Daniel, being a newcomer to the group was not welcome either.
Thus Daniel and Bethany spent the evening together. Bethany was teaching Daniel how to draw the fish symbol which was used as a secret sign of brotherhood among Christians. She drew the simple pattern in the dirt outside their front door.
"That looks more like a shark," Bethany laughed when Daniel tried drawing what he thought was a very realistic fish. "You don't need all of that detail. Just the two simple curved lines crossing over to form the tail. Now you keep practising, I have to go and wash as Matthew will probably bring visitors back with him this evening."
When he got bored with drawing fishes, Daniel began drawing a detailed picture of Moses parting the waters of the Red Sea. This was another of his favourite stories. He was so engrossed in sketching in all the details of this spectacular scene with his stick, that he didn't see the two Roman soldiers until they were practically upon him. Quickly he rubbed out the fish symbols with his foot.
The soldiers were deep in conversation, and since Daniel had learned Latin at school, he was able to understand what they were saying.
"Nero claims that it was the Christian's who started the great fire," said one.
"I have heard that they are cannibals and that they practice incest," replied the other.
"It is true that they talk of feasting upon the flesh and blood of their prophet," the first admitted, "and that they believe in love between all individuals. Whether these things can be taken at face value, I do not know. But Nero clearly feels that Rome would be a better place without them."
"How is he planning to achieve such an aim?" asked the second soldier.
"The emperor is a great lover of sport," his companion replied, "and as the people of Rome are tiring of simple gladiatorial combat, he has decided to make a sport of exterminating the Christians. They are to be thrown into the arena with wild beasts."
"But surely martyrdom is what these people seek?" his friend queried. "Look what it did for the leader of their movement. I wonder if our emperor is wise to take this approach."
"It would not be well to question his wisdom," warned the other.
Daniel couldn't wait to tell Bethany all that he had overheard. He rushed into the house and entered her bedroom without thinking to announce his intention to do so.
There stood Bethany stark naked and glistening with the water with which she was sponging herself down. With a startled look she dropped her wash cloth into the large bowl of water on the floor and covered her breasts and crotch with her hands.
For all that Daniel had wanted to say, the sight of Bethany's naked beauty left him speechless.
Bethany, for her part, could not feel too angry towards Daniel, as she recognised that his actions where those of someone still innocent in the ways of the world.
"Please Daniel," she said, "it is not polite to stare. Particularly at a lady who is not wearing any clothes."
"But you are so beautiful," Daniel replied. Then he looked down at the lump appearing under his tunic.
"Look, it is happening again," he pointed out, as he lifted his garment to display his stiff cock to the embarrassed Bethany.
"Please Daniel, you must not do that," she explained, "and you must leave the room at once. When you look lustfully at a woman, you are committing adultery with her in your heart."
"Oh, all right," Daniel replied, leaving the room. Adultery was the other thing that the Saviour had stopped people from being stoned for, Daniel remembered. He hoped that it was not a serious sin.
When Matthew came home with some friends of his that Daniel had not met before, he asked politely how Daniel had spent the evening.
"Well, first Bethany taught me how to draw fish," Daniel explained. "After that I listened to two Roman soldiers talk about how the emperor Nero is planning to throw the Roman Christians into the arena with wild beasts."
"You heard that?" Matthew wanted to know. "So the news is spreading fast. That is what our meeting tonight was about."
"And after that," Daniel continued, "I came into the house and committed adultery with Bethany."